Not a tough question, just something I never knew or understood about Protestantism. I'm a Catholic, and in my diocese post-baccalaureate seminary education is subsidized by collections taken. It's one of the largest places we put our money. I've heard that if you don't make it to the priesthood in seminary that you've got to pay back the expense of your education, but if you do, then it's all paid for (which makes sense because priestly vows more or less prohibit other means of paying it back).

But for Protestants, this doesn't seem to be the case and I'd like to know how an average pastor manages to pay off his or her debt. I was surprised when a friend of mine told me that his pastor was fresh out of college, with just a bachelors degree, but it would seem to make a bit more sense to preach your way through graduate school, if you need to go to it at all since tuition has been crazy expensive for the last couple of decades.

If "Protestant" is too broad for this question, I can limit it to protestants similar to non-Evangelical Lutherans.

1 Answer 1


In Baptist circles, seminary is just like college for secular students. The student pays for his or her own tuition. (O.K. for Pastors in conservative Baptist Churches I may as well just say "his own tuition".)

As an example... In my neck of the woods, most Baptist pastors-to-be attend Maranatha Bible College. their tuition and costs page is found here, explaining what a student needs to know.

And just like secular schools, there are scholarship and financial aid options available.

  • Yup! In my case, I had sold a house, and wanted to "tithe" a portion of it. I used the proceeds to fund my seminary education. Sep 29, 2013 at 12:28
  • My Baptist Bro-n-law quickly paid off his student loans by landing a senior pastor position at a significantly sized Baptist church 3 years out of seminary :) I was very surprised when I discovered how well he is paid! He does great work though for sure.
    – user5286
    Sep 29, 2013 at 19:43
  • It's pretty much the same for Methodists and Pentecostals. The school I'm applying to does allow a congregation to sponsor a student but that counts as a type of scholarship. Sep 30, 2013 at 14:28
  • I have never seen it any other way than this. The Bible school I went to for a few semesters was a regular college, but only had majors in christian/bible related subjects. You could, hypothetically, get an associates degree there then transfer. It was just a regular college.
    – user3961
    Oct 1, 2013 at 8:32
  • yep, you gotta pay for sematary school yourself.
    – hookenz
    Oct 1, 2013 at 9:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .